Sunday, March 07, 2010

W-1 BP65

We are well into Championship Week, and we're rapidly closing in on the Field of 65. One week ago we still had a little over 300 teams that had a mathematical chance of making the NCAA Tournament, and that number is now down to around 225. More importantly, the at-large bubble has shrunk dramatically, to right around 20 teams. Most of the at-large teams are already locks. Remember that I'm previewing all of the conference tournaments, and those previews can be found here. I have not yet completed the previews for the biggest conferences, because I'm waiting for the regular seasons to complete so we will know all of the brackets, match-ups and at-large implications. The last of the previews should be out by late Sunday night.

There will be three BP65s out this final week, with the next one coming after Wednesday night's games. I also want to again remind people to read About The BP65 to understand what the BP65 is and how teams are ordered.

One quick thought: it's really difficult to come up with the last two or three teams in the bracket right now. As analysts have pointed out, the bubble is really, really weak right now. But that said, they forget to put it in perspective and point out that the bubble is always weak with seven or eight days to go until Selection Sunday. And it will firm up over the next week. Most likely some automatic bids will be stolen by teams that were not going to get at-large bids, by a team like Saint Louis or Mississippi State. And some of the teams sitting on the wrong side of the bubble right now will get hot during their conference tournament. So I don't think that either Notre Dame or Wichita State will make the NCAA Tournament, but right now they're in my bracket because I'm not going to go and predict a team like Saint Louis or Mississippi State to win their conference tournament, and I can't come up with any teams more likely than Notre Dame or Wichita State to earn an at-large bid that aren't already in my bracket.

I'll have more thoughts in the comments to this post, depending on what topics people bring up. For now, here's how I see things ending up:

1. KANSAS (BIG 12)

2. Kansas State
2. West Virginia
2. Ohio State

3. Pittsburgh
3. Villanova
3. Wisconsin

4. Tennessee
4. Michigan State
4. Baylor

5. Maryland
5. Vanderbilt
5. Texas A&M

6. BYU
6. Georgetown
6. Temple

7. Texas
7. Florida State
7. Louisville

8. Richmond
8. Missouri
8. Virginia Tech

9. Marquette
9. Oklahoma State
9. Clemson

10. Saint Mary's
10. Wake Forest
10. UNLV
10. Georgia Tech

11. Florida
11. Washington

12. San Diego State

13. Notre Dame
13. Wichita State




Other teams considered, but that just missed the cut:
Illinois, UAB, Arizona State, Mississippi

Decent resumes, but not good enough:
Rhode Island, Connecticut, Seton Hall, South Florida

Long shots, but still in the at-large discussion:
Charlotte, Dayton, Cincinnati, Minnesota, VCU, Marshall, Mississippi State

Still alive, but pretty much need a miracle:
Boston College, Saint Louis, Northeastern, William & Mary, Tulsa


DMoore said...

I'm curious why you see Washington making it over Arizona State. I would give ASU the edge today -- what do you predict happening to change that?

This season, I think your miracle category is kinda moot. I can't see any of those teams (maybe St Louis?) making it into the field even if they make it to their conference tournament finals and lose to a half court buzzer beater in OT.

Jeff said...

Washington and Arizona State are on pace to play in the Pac-10 semifinals, in what might be an elimination game. I think Washington will win that game.

And weirder things have happened. Imagine if Boston College wins today and then makes a run to the ACC tournament finals, they would certainly get some at-large buzz.

It's likely that the bubble will tighten up quite a bit over the next week. But on the off chance that it doesn't, the bubble could end up being very soft. It's not like Ole Miss or Notre Dame don't have huge flaws in their resumes also.

Chris said...

Being a Rhode Island fan...this team is killing me. 2nd collapse in 3 years. Back to back years UMass has ruined our chances of making the tourney. I will now poke my eyes out with a pitchfork. Arrrghhh!!

Jeff said...

Sorry about that Chris. I got a lot of grief for being a Rhode Island "hater" a month ago when I had them out of the bracket, but I was just making a projection like any other. I try to be as objective as I can. I get some right and I get some wrong. I missed UNC, I nailed Rhode Island.

I actually attended a Rhode Island game in person this season, which I think was actually the first time I've ever seen them play live (at least the first time in years). I was at the Oklahoma State game, which was a "home" game that was played at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Even though they were playing in a different state they still had their cheerleaders, their PA guys and their mascot. I had a good time. I actually have a magnetic Rhode Island 2009-10 basketball schedule on my fridge that they were giving out for free at the game.

But I try as hard as I can to keep my rooting interests from interfering with my bracket projections.

Chris said...

Jeff --

Ohh, I was at that game as well. (Well, I go to most of them...but you know what I mean.) Ahhh, that game was back in January...back when URI was playing well. I remember that time fondly. It was a nuetral court game because last year Rhode Island did the same thing somewhere in OK. Although it did have a home game feal...especially since the campus is about 45 min away.

I did disagree with you when you didn't have them in at all. When they were 19-3 you didn't have them on your board & many people had them as a 5 or 6 seed. At that point I saw them as an 8 or 9 seed.

Now I can only hope they run the table in the A-10. ha ha. I guess on the bright side...we aren't as awful as Providence. They suck. :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny that you think you nailed the Rhode Island prediction. First off, they could still make the tourney. Secondly, you had them out when they were 19-3. So to predict them out, you were basically saying they had to finish the season 2-5 when they were only an underdog once. That's a ridiculously bad decision that happened to work out. That's supposed to cancel out projecting UNC in when they were 13-11 and everyone had them out? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Boston College would draw absolutely no at-large buzz even if they lost in the ACC finals. That column is a silly one that there is no business having. Teams that lose four more conference games than they win do not get an at-large no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I think the Turner injury gets overhyped. Yeah, they went 3-3 without him, but that was a tough stretch that they would have struggled to go 4-2 in even with Turner. I know you always argue how the RPI doesn't matter that much, but they do use it and I have a hard time seeing a team with an RPI of 29 getting a two seed.

Anonymous said...

If Western Kentucky wins their conference tourney, they will get a 14 seed. Winning @ Vandy and beating Murray St. and Mississippi St. OOC is too much to ignore.

Jeff said...

So I can't say that I got Rhode Island correct when I got Rhode Island correct because... it was a stupid prediction and unlikely? That doesn't make a lot of sense.

Actually, if you were with this blog two years ago, I nailed the identical situation with another A-10 team. Dayton also got off to a hot start and was projected to be a 5-7 seed by all, but I kept them out of my bracket, and they fell apart down the stretch and missed the Tournament. Rhode Island reminded me so much of that team, and so I felt the same thing would happen. I went through all my reasons for Rhode Island a month ago: you can go back and read them if you want the detail.

And UNC is a once-in-a-generation event. None of us have ever seen a team that is that good fall apart like that, and we might not see it again for decades. When "everybody had them out of the bracket" I was also very happy to point out that if the season ended at the time they'd obviously be out of the Tournament. I was simply expecting them to recover the way good teams normally recover. UNC's collapse is not because they're bad - in fact, they're probably the best team that won't make the Tournament this year. In four years doing this blog I've never missed a team that badly, and it's because none of us have ever seen something like that before.

No projection system is perfect. But I'm happy to put my record up against anybody.

Anonymous said...

"So I can't say that I got Rhode Island correct when I got Rhode Island correct because... it was a stupid prediction and unlikely? That doesn't make a lot of sense."

It makes perfect sense - it would've been like projecting Cincinnati in when they were 7-8 in conference as if you were expecting them to get to 10-8. You would be the only person projecting that and it would be ridiculously bad. If it happened, you wouldn't look good - you would be stupid for projecting something incredibly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

UNC will be the best team to miss the tournament this year? Are you serious dude? You know they're 16-15 with a loss to lowly Charleston and just got beat by 32 the other night. Just because they have the name UNC doesn't mean they're good. All of their freshman have been absolute garbage and Drew and Ginyard clearly regressed. They suck.

Jeff said...

That Cincinnati projection would have been a bad one. I'm not sure why you have trouble understanding that I have a method for projecting what will happen to teams, and more often than not I'm more accurate than the other people. I'm not just picking stuff out of a hat. I have reasons for what I'm doing.

Go back and look at everything I wrote about Rhode Island. I even correctly suggested what might happen over their final three games when the Rhode Island fan told me that of the final three games he was only worried about the Charlotte one. I pointed out that in fact, it was the St. Bonaventure game that they were most likely to lose, and that even the UMass game was no easier than the Charlotte game. And so the rest of the college basketball world was then shocked when Rhode Island lost to St. Bonaventure and UMass while beating Charlotte. I have reasons for projecting what I do, which is why you'll be less "shocked" by what happens if you read what I say.

And as for North Carolina, you're not understanding the difference between how good a team is and how good their resume is. I would never argue that UNC's resume is the best of the teams left out. There will be at least 20 teams that miss the NCAA Tournament that end up with a better resume than UNC does.

But I think that we know all we need to know about what type of "analyst" you are with "all of their freshmen are garbage". Would you like to qualify how exactly one defines a player as "garbage"? You're saying you wouldn't want your favorite team to have Dexter Strickland and John Henson? That's what I thought. You're obviously not capable of an educated discussion on these types of issues.

Please read over some of my older posts to see the types of comments that my other readers leave. You could learn something from them.

Anonymous said...

The Rhode Island prediction was a bad one for the simple fact was that at 19-3 you had them projected out, and for them to be out they had to finish 2-5 despite being an underdog only once. I was with you on them being overrated at the time, but even if they finished 3-6 they would've been in.

Would I have wanted Strickland and Henson playing the way they did on my team this year? Absolutely not.

Yes, I do understand the difference between a team's resume and how good they are. Believe it or not, you're not the only person who knows what they're talking about it. Teams that lose by 32 - they aren't good. You act like UNC had been really unlucky and that they're 1-10 in five point games or something. The best team that won't make it in is Minnesota. That should be obvious.

Jeff said...

Let me explain this to you one more time. If you don't get it this time then you just don't get it and I won't keep wasting my time:

You say that it was stupid to project Rhode Island to go 2-5 in their final seven games because they were "favored" in 6 of them. I guess it would have been stupid to project UNC to not get a 1 or a 2 seed back in December, right? I mean, they were favored to only lose two or three games the rest of the season!

I looked at those final seven games and projected a 3-4 record. I thought they could go 2-5 or 4-3. There was no chance they were going 6-1. Vegas can choose whichever favorites they want, and I can disagree. I knew what I was doing. The fact that you don't is fine - like I said, my record is out there for people to see. What do you think - I just picked Rhode Island to crash down the stretch because I have an irrational hatred? I've already mentioned that I went to one of their home games this season and like their players and fans. And it's particularly dumb to say that my projection was stupid when it turned out to be right. Attack me for UNC if you want, although everybody on the planet missed that one. But attacking me for Rhode Island is pretty blockheaded.

If all a website is doing to project the future is to just take the Vegas favorites in every game then they're just wasting everybody's time. Websites like are useful because they let you know quickly and objectively what teams should do in the future if they continue their play thus far, and allow people to quickly notice if there's a quirk in a team's schedule that might cause them to have problems down the stretch (like we saw this season with teams like Illinois, Tulsa and Rhode Island).

But if somebody is going to spend their time trying to improve on those basic computer models, they need to have a system for projecting a team beyond what they've done so far. Have teams been lucky or unlucky? Are they due for a hot stretch or cold stretch? How will the upcoming schedule or recent results affect their psyche? Etc. That's what I try to do here.

I have a long way to go, I still make a lot of wrong projections. But I've gotten better every single year I've done this, and I will continue to get better.

And until you learn how to do an analysis more sophisticated than "Team A sucks because Player B sucks" then you just won't understand.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you projected it. It worked out for you. Congratulations. You were also a month late on Marquette and UTEP. Projected brackets should be ahead of the game on those. Not behind.

TripSearching said...

I have been following your blog on off for a while now. I posted last year when Dawkins decided to come a year early to Duke. You posted about how Duke was a tournament bubble team and how UNC was going to win the ACC. I will post the link to your post and my comments again. Any chance you will make a new post taking back your dismissal of Duke as a good team for this year?

Anonymous said...

I am a huge mississippi state fan bad or good it doesn't matter to me, I love my Dogs. If MS state doesn't make the tournoment this year it will be ashame. you can say theres always next year and I am confident we will be good next year, if renardo sidney returns for his soph year we will be a real conteder in the NCAA. This is my thoughts on how things will shake out. If mississippi state gets Ranardo Sidney comes back Here is how we will line up sindey can play at any position on the court can bring the ball up the court play on the inside and shoot the three. we will lose Barry Stewart and Jarvis Varnardo, but we have wendell Lewis who is going to mature into a great inside player, Kodi agustus that can also play inside and shoot the three. Dee Bost who is a good point gaurd. Ravurn johnson who leads the conference in threes, and you also have the same thing in Romero Osby, oh ya did i forget Phil Turner and Elgin Baliey. So with all that being said I think that is a pretty good resume for being a great team and an awesome recipe for success.